THAT WELL-KNOWN ADAGE of “practice makes perfect” proved prophetic for me Thursday evening during a poetry reading in Faribault.
An event which I had fretted/worried/stressed about for the past week nearly went off without the proverbial hitch. (I struggled only once, as I read a poem about my son being struck by a hit-and-run driver six years ago.)
Yes, I did it. I stood before an audience and read/discussed poetry along with a co-presenter for 1 ½ hours.
The secret to that success most certainly was practice and, as I emailed my virtual, now real-life, blogger friend Beth Ann, prayer. Beth Ann traveled all the way from Mason City, Iowa, 20 miles south of the Minnesota border, with her husband, Chris, to hear me and Peter Allen present.
About that practice… I’ve been reading my poetry and scripts to my kitchen walls for the past week, rehearsing twice on Thursday and even more on Wednesday. When I phoned my husband, Randy, late Thursday afternoon to remind him of the presentation (he’d asked me to do so), he inquired, “Have you been smoking? Your voice sounds hoarse.”
He was joking, of course, as I don’t smoke and can’t even tolerate cigarette smoke.
I’d been practicing, I told him. Perhaps I’d rehearsed enough if my voice was growing raspy.
Here’s one of the biggest surprises of all from the evening: Because I felt so confident going into the presentation, I actually, truly, enjoyed myself. Who would have thought? Not me.
Second, the turn-out of 32 audience members floored me and Peter. I expected perhaps a dozen. Buckham Memorial Public Services Librarian Allyn M. McColley, who coordinated the event, shared my enthusiasm for the high audience attendance. And, honestly, I did not personally invite a single person, although I did post about the event here last week.
I am grateful that so many ventured out of their warm homes on a cold December evening to embrace poetry. Such interest warms this poet’s heart. I could hear that interest in the laughter, in the questions, in the comments.
It also warms my heart that my two dear friends, Billie Jo and Tammy, both the mothers of young children, would choose to hear me read poetry on their girls’ night out.
And then to think that blogger Beth Ann, whom I’d never met prior to Thursday evening, drove more than an hour with her husband from northern Iowa to listen to me and Peter present simply touches me. (Beth Ann blogged this morning about our meeting and the poetry presentation, so be sure to click here and read her engaging piece.)
Finally, my dear husband, Randy, who helped me tote a van full of props and books and food to the library and then assisted with props and hand-outs, took me out to dinner afterward. We dined at a lovely Italian restaurant, Augusto’s Ristorante, several blocks from the library. It was the perfect way to end a fabulous evening.
© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling